“Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.”
– John 6:11
Gospel Lesson – John 6:1-21
What attracted people to Jesus? For some it was the remarkable teaching, for some it was the displays of power and authority, for some it was desire for a new political order, but here we see the crowd drawn because of the way Jesus cares for people (verse 2). It’s still true for us too. When someone cares deeply for the sick and broken, we want to know more. What makes this person tick? Why would they worry about those outside of themselves, their family, their friends, their tribe? Jesus’ evangelism grew out of a deep concern for all people, and was very successful. When we start focusing on the needs of other
people, we too will find our efforts at evangelism growing. The Good News is about God caring deeply for us, when we witness to the gospel in our care we bear it in authentic form.
Jesus faces another opportunity to care for people in this passage. The crowd has no food, and no prospects for a meal. Jesus uses this opportunity to teach his disciples about God’s provision. The disciples see only need and scarcity in the crowd. We fall into this same trap. How often have I thought that a need was so great that if I tried to do anything it would just be a waste? Why even start a project that I am convinced will end, at best, leaving needs unsatisfied, or at worst, in total failure?
Jesus’ answer is to just start (Just Do It, if we want to follow a popular advertising campaign). Gather what resources you have been blessed with and become a blessing to others, and God will be with you. Jesus doesn’t carefully ration out the food, he invites the people to take ‘as much as they wanted.’ And in the richness of God’s blessing there is even more left over than what they started with!
God’s love is like this. Where I can only imagine a limited supply of patience and love, God offers an abundance that not only satisfies my wants, but overflows into greater measures than I can even imagine.
Peace and Grace